Marine Corps Second LieutenantO-1 Commissioned Officer, U.S. Marine Corps
O-1 Second Lieutenant - Commissioned Officer - U.S. Marine Corps Ranks
Second Lieutenant is the entry-level commissioned officer rank in the United States Marine Corps. A Second Lieutenant generally commands a platoon consisting of 16 to 44 Marines, including two or more squads lead by a senior non-commissioned officer. Second Lieutenants are often unofficially referred to as "butterbars" or "nuggets", in reference to their golden bar insignia.
Because of their relative inexperience in command, Second Lieutenants often receive assistance and mentoring from more experienced commissioned officers and the senior non-commissioned officers who serve with them. On-the-job training helps prepare Second Lieutenants for future promotions and command responsibility over larger units of Marines.
Marines who have completed an ROTC program or a four-year college degree combined with Officer Candidate School may enter the Marine Corps with a commission as Second Lieutenant. In times of war, exemplary enlisted soldiers may also receive a "battlefield commission" to Second Lieutenant to reward leadership and bravery on the field, although this is rare in modern times.
Second Lieutenant is the 18th rank in the United States Marine Corps , ranking above Chief Warrant Officer 5 and directly below First Lieutenant. A second lieutenant is a Commissioned Officer at DoD paygrade O-1, with a starting monthly pay of $3,477.
How do you become a Second Lieutenant?
A Second Lieutenant is most often promoted from Chief Warrant Officer 5 (CW5), although promotion from lower paygrades may occur with sufficient display of leadership and experience. Click here to learn more about promotion to Second Lieutenant.
What is the proper way to address a Second Lieutenant?
The correct way to address a Second Lieutenant named Mr. Weber is "Lieutenant Weber", or written as 2ndLt Weber. In formal situations, a Second Lieutenant should always be addressed by their full rank.
How much does a Second Lieutenant earn?
Basic pay for an entry-level Second Lieutenant with 2 or less years of experience is $3,477.30 per month.
A Second Lieutenant receives an automatic raise to their basic pay every one to two years. Basic pay is only a small percentage of a Second Lieutenant's final compensation package.
In addition to a monthly basic pay salary, a Marine Corps Second Lieutenant may be eligible for multiple types of allowances and bonus pay including hazard pay, education allowance, housing allowance, food allowance, and more.
For full details on the Marine Corps' Second Lieutenant compensation and retirement plan, visit the 2023 Marine Corps Second Lieutenant Pay Chart. A full table of the Marine Corps' current paygrades are available at the Marine Corps Pay Chart.
Equivalent Ranks to the Marine Corps' O-1 Second Lieutenant
To learn more about the Marine Corps' rank structure, see our complete list of Marine Corps ranks.
The Government civilian-employee equivalent of a Second Lieutenant is paid under the General Schedule payscale. For more details, see this Marine Corps rank to GS grade conversion table .
To see a list of military medals and decorations that can be earned by servicemembers in the Marine Corps and other branches of the military, see our list of military decorations and medals.